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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Story Recap — What To Know Before MW2

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Call of Duty campaigns have shipped with nearly every game in the series, and 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot featured a new, gritty–or grittier–take on the first-person shooter genre. Its story featured an action-packed blend of action, intrigue, and mustaches, and if you’re preparing to play the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, we’ll get you caught up. Here’s a recap of everything that happened in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. And if you want a video version of this recap, it’s embedded below.

Fog of War

The game kicks off in the fictional region of Verdansk, where a CIA operative known simply as Alex is raiding a facility with a team of marines to search for a shipment of chemical gas. Once the gas is located, things go sideways for the Americans very fast. The gas is stolen by a team of hostile insurgents who kill everyone except for Alex.

Now Playing: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Full Story Explained

We then jump to the fictional country of Urzikstan, which is where much of the game’s action takes place. Here, we’re introduced to Station Chief Laswell–Alex’s CIA handler–who calls in the legendary Captain John Price to assist in the chemical gas mission.

Picadilly

24 hours later, we head to London, where Sergeant Kyle Garrick is investigating a terrorist group affiliated with an organization called Al-Qatala. After intercepting a van full of terrorists, Garrick and his team are thrown into heavy combat, with Captain Price arriving to avert a larger crisis.

Embedded/Proxy War

The story cuts back to Alex in Urzikstan, who is sent to rendevous with Farah Karim, a local resistance leader and Captain Price’s contact. Reaching a mutually beneficial deal, the two agree to help one another. Karim will aid Alex’s search for the chemical gas in exchange for help defending Urzikstan from Russian occupiers–led by General Roman Barkov. Alex assists Farah and her brother Hadir, taking down two helicopters.

Clean House

Back in London, Garrick has managed to track down the terrorists’ safe house. The information leads to a raid by Garrick and Price, where they learn the name of Al-Qatala’s leader: Omar Sulaman, better known simply as The Wolf.

Hunting Party/The Embassy

From here, Alex is brought on a mission to capture The Wolf at a nearby hospital in Urzikstan. He succeeds in his mission, but after bringing The Wolf to the US embassy, his right-hand man–The Butcher–launches an attack to rescue him. The Wolf is freed despite the best efforts of both Captain Price and Garrick to assist Alex and Farah.

Highway of Death

A controversial mission because of its name (the Highway of Death was a real location during the Gulf War), Highway of Death sees Farah, her brother Hadir, and Alex on a sniping post as they wait to ambush an Al-Qatala convoy. However, chaos soon erupts as Barkov’s men start shooting indiscriminately, and Hadir is revealed to be the person who stole the chemical gas. Triggering a bomb, Hadir’s gas kills everyone in range, though Farah and Alex both narrowly escape.

Hometown

Set 20 years earlier, Hometown sees the earliest days of Farah’s resistance. During Barkov’s initial invasion of Urzikstan, her father is murdered and gas destroys much of her neighborhood. Farah and Hadir both survive, as you’d expect given what came later, but are caught by Barkov and his men.

Captive

10 years later, Farah is held captive by Barkov. It’s Captain Price who finally comes to the rescue, freeing her and many of her fellow resistance fighters–setting the stage for the brutal war to come.

Old Comrades/Going Dark

Returning to the present, the story heads to St. Petersburg, Russia, where Price and Garrick believe Hadir is planning an attack. The two interact Al-Qatala fighters and locate The Butcher, who reveals Hadir’s plans only after Price threatens his family. Hadir is headed for Barkov’s estate in Moldova, and the two jump in a cop car to make it there before it’s too late.

The two avoid guards and locate Hadir on the third floor, extracting him and sparing his life in exchange for information on Barkov’s gas facility. However, Laswell turns Hadir over to the Russians before Price and Garrick meet up with Farah and Alex–the four head to Georgia to face Barkov.

Into the Furnace

The final mission sees Price and Garrick leading an assault on Barkov’s men, working to plant explosive charges as Farah and Alex move to intercept Barkov himself. However, Alex holds the detonator for the charges, and it malfunctions, requiring him to activate them manually at the cost of his life. Farah makes sure his death is not in vain, stowing away on Barkov’s personal helicopter and stabbing him to death before she makes her escape alongside Price and Garrick. Back at base, we get a tease of what’s to come later, with Task Force 141 making its debut. Garrick is revealed to be “Gaz,” and the team will also consist of Soap MacTavish and Simon “Ghost” Riley.

Spec Ops

Taking place after the campaign mode, the cooperative Spec Ops mode takes us to Verdansk. Al-Qatala has a new leader named Khaled Al-Asad, who you might remember as the initial antagonist in 2007’s Call of Duty 4. He’s doing business with Victor Zakhaev, the son of Imran Zakhaev, who ended up being the final antagonist in Call of Duty 4.

Warzone

It’s unclear how much of Warzone’s content will be canonical in the rebooted Modern Warfare timeline, but the mode features several familiar characters. Gaz and Price move to Verdansk as they work to bring down Zakhaev, with a PMC known as Shadow Company joining, as well. Farah and ally Nikolai join the fight, as well, with Price stopping an extremely powerful missile from launching as Zakhaev is killed.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors.
GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.



Call of Duty campaigns have shipped with nearly every game in the series, and 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot featured a new, gritty–or grittier–take on the first-person shooter genre. Its story featured an action-packed blend of action, intrigue, and mustaches, and if you’re preparing to play the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, we’ll get you caught up. Here’s a recap of everything that happened in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. And if you want a video version of this recap, it’s embedded below.

Fog of War

The game kicks off in the fictional region of Verdansk, where a CIA operative known simply as Alex is raiding a facility with a team of marines to search for a shipment of chemical gas. Once the gas is located, things go sideways for the Americans very fast. The gas is stolen by a team of hostile insurgents who kill everyone except for Alex.

Now Playing: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Full Story Explained

We then jump to the fictional country of Urzikstan, which is where much of the game’s action takes place. Here, we’re introduced to Station Chief Laswell–Alex’s CIA handler–who calls in the legendary Captain John Price to assist in the chemical gas mission.

Picadilly

24 hours later, we head to London, where Sergeant Kyle Garrick is investigating a terrorist group affiliated with an organization called Al-Qatala. After intercepting a van full of terrorists, Garrick and his team are thrown into heavy combat, with Captain Price arriving to avert a larger crisis.

Embedded/Proxy War

The story cuts back to Alex in Urzikstan, who is sent to rendevous with Farah Karim, a local resistance leader and Captain Price’s contact. Reaching a mutually beneficial deal, the two agree to help one another. Karim will aid Alex’s search for the chemical gas in exchange for help defending Urzikstan from Russian occupiers–led by General Roman Barkov. Alex assists Farah and her brother Hadir, taking down two helicopters.

Clean House

Back in London, Garrick has managed to track down the terrorists’ safe house. The information leads to a raid by Garrick and Price, where they learn the name of Al-Qatala’s leader: Omar Sulaman, better known simply as The Wolf.

Hunting Party/The Embassy

From here, Alex is brought on a mission to capture The Wolf at a nearby hospital in Urzikstan. He succeeds in his mission, but after bringing The Wolf to the US embassy, his right-hand man–The Butcher–launches an attack to rescue him. The Wolf is freed despite the best efforts of both Captain Price and Garrick to assist Alex and Farah.

Highway of Death

A controversial mission because of its name (the Highway of Death was a real location during the Gulf War), Highway of Death sees Farah, her brother Hadir, and Alex on a sniping post as they wait to ambush an Al-Qatala convoy. However, chaos soon erupts as Barkov’s men start shooting indiscriminately, and Hadir is revealed to be the person who stole the chemical gas. Triggering a bomb, Hadir’s gas kills everyone in range, though Farah and Alex both narrowly escape.

Hometown

Set 20 years earlier, Hometown sees the earliest days of Farah’s resistance. During Barkov’s initial invasion of Urzikstan, her father is murdered and gas destroys much of her neighborhood. Farah and Hadir both survive, as you’d expect given what came later, but are caught by Barkov and his men.

Captive

10 years later, Farah is held captive by Barkov. It’s Captain Price who finally comes to the rescue, freeing her and many of her fellow resistance fighters–setting the stage for the brutal war to come.

Old Comrades/Going Dark

Returning to the present, the story heads to St. Petersburg, Russia, where Price and Garrick believe Hadir is planning an attack. The two interact Al-Qatala fighters and locate The Butcher, who reveals Hadir’s plans only after Price threatens his family. Hadir is headed for Barkov’s estate in Moldova, and the two jump in a cop car to make it there before it’s too late.

The two avoid guards and locate Hadir on the third floor, extracting him and sparing his life in exchange for information on Barkov’s gas facility. However, Laswell turns Hadir over to the Russians before Price and Garrick meet up with Farah and Alex–the four head to Georgia to face Barkov.

Into the Furnace

The final mission sees Price and Garrick leading an assault on Barkov’s men, working to plant explosive charges as Farah and Alex move to intercept Barkov himself. However, Alex holds the detonator for the charges, and it malfunctions, requiring him to activate them manually at the cost of his life. Farah makes sure his death is not in vain, stowing away on Barkov’s personal helicopter and stabbing him to death before she makes her escape alongside Price and Garrick. Back at base, we get a tease of what’s to come later, with Task Force 141 making its debut. Garrick is revealed to be “Gaz,” and the team will also consist of Soap MacTavish and Simon “Ghost” Riley.

Spec Ops

Taking place after the campaign mode, the cooperative Spec Ops mode takes us to Verdansk. Al-Qatala has a new leader named Khaled Al-Asad, who you might remember as the initial antagonist in 2007’s Call of Duty 4. He’s doing business with Victor Zakhaev, the son of Imran Zakhaev, who ended up being the final antagonist in Call of Duty 4.

Warzone

It’s unclear how much of Warzone’s content will be canonical in the rebooted Modern Warfare timeline, but the mode features several familiar characters. Gaz and Price move to Verdansk as they work to bring down Zakhaev, with a PMC known as Shadow Company joining, as well. Farah and ally Nikolai join the fight, as well, with Price stopping an extremely powerful missile from launching as Zakhaev is killed.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors.
GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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